6.07.2015

#Uganda needs to calm down and #FreePanadolWaBasajja



This post is long overdue; sorry...but I've been busy as hell.

As man of you know, Ugandan popstar Panadol Wa Basajja is facing a a 10-year prison sentence for the video you just watched. Panadol markets herself as an adult entertainer; her stage name literally translates to "Medicine for Men" and she's made it abundantly clear her work is not for children.  She's taking her marketing cue from Beyonce and Nicki Minaj by using sex to sell her music. Yet she's being accused of violating Uganda's anti-pornography law, a law so vague and incendiary that Ugandan women in mini-skirts were being attacked and stripped by mobs.

I've got words, y'all.

1 - Shit like this drives brown people from their homelands.

Brown countries complain about white-worshiping generations and hordes of talented people emigrating to other countries - well, yeah...of course they will when you make the environment to hostile for them to express themselves..  Believe it or not, most brown people want to live in their ancestral homelands, but our governments keep making some of the most idiotic, self-destructive decisions which don't make any goddamn sense to the rest of us.  I would not be shocked of Panadol went free, packed her bags, and moved to another country after this, inspiring a whole wave of fed-up Ugandan women to follow suit.

2 - Uganda needs to think about things fiscally.

You have a Ugandan popstar.  Pause right there.  That's revenue.  That's sold-out venues.  That's endorsements.  That's marketing.  Panadol might be taking her cues from Beyonce and Nicki Minaj, but given a wide enough berth and support, she could build up a big enough fanbase redirect some of that much-needed Ugandan spending power from going abroad.  Look at what the Korean wave did for the South Korean economy.  That link I just shared is from ten years ago.  K-pop in particular has gone on to dominate the living hell out of not just Korea, but all of East Asia.  That's what happens when a society give its pop artists some leeway to make magic happen.  And believe it or not, the Korean government is strict as hell!

And artists like Panadol could pull off a Ugandan Wave, you know.  The video I posted is a repost; the original was taken down.  This video already has half million views, and people all over the world who can't understand a single word of what she's saying are leaving comments about how much they love the track and want a translation, how hot she is, and how Uganda is trippin' for throwing her in jail!

I myself was jamming and wondering if her music's on Amazon (it's not, by the way).

3 - Uganda needs to think about things culturally.

You have a Ugandan popstar...singing in her native tongue.  Not English.  Not French.  Not Portuguese, German, or Arabic.  Talk about a language preserver, people.  Many people don't realize this, but indigenous African linguists all across the continent (and the world) are in a straight-up battle to protect our languages from becoming extinct.  Why?  Because - again - our governments - and thus our schools, businesses, economies, etc. - are based on colonial models which give zero fucks about preserving indigenous African languages and traditions.

Back to the Korean Wave.  Why do think so many of us across the world have developed an intuitive understanding of Korean?  Raise your hand if you don't need subtitles to follow a K-Drama anymore?  I remember when I could sing along with TOP's "Turn it Up" and MBLAQ's "Oh, Yeah" word for word without batting an eyelash.  Fuck...pulling those videos up just now started to bring it all back!

My point?  Artists like Panadol wa Basajja are highly viable national commodities, and they need to be given the freedom to experiment and explore until they finally come across a workable formula.

Now, that all being said, I understand the critics who are bringing up the objectification of women issue, and how unfortunate it is that this pop star's feels she needs to get semi-nekkid to sell music.  However, like I said in the beginning, Panadol is an adult entertainer, and I feel adult entertainers should be free to do whatever the hell they want with their own bodies.

5 comments:

  1. the government has decided that controlling women is more important than making money, spreading culture, or preserving languages

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  2. You made great points. I also wonder about how TV is regulated over there, how much adult content children can easily see on TV. I mean, if it's less easy to access for kids and parents do their job as parents then it's all good.
    Going to jail for being very sexy...while real mysoginy and sex crimes/domestic violence need serious attention from the police and government (in any country)...

    I'm not into "erotic" stuff on TV but come on, as long it doesn't become a trend...which is not very likely (the USA is a particular case). Many countries have a select few singers who are into erotic/sexual stuff but not all of their music scene is this way. Diversity in music visuals and policy framework are key, and if the government decides that her music videos shouldn't be broadcast before 10 pm, then it's all good, as long as they're not sending her to jail. Censorship to an extent, yes. Jail ? No.

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    1. It's me, Myra. I think I can't comment here without logging in, right? No problem, I don't mind. And the Facebook comment box is cool, I'm just a little paranoid about being tracked on FB so I might not use it as much as the regular comment box.

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    2. It's all good. We've added LiveFyre as another option.

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